Maple Syrup Is The Secret Ingredient For Perfectly Balanced Coleslaw

A backyard cookout isn't complete without some delicious barbecue sides. While there are plenty of options out there, coleslaw is one tried-and-true side that's crunchy, tangy, and the perfect accompaniment to a main course. If you've eaten traditional coleslaw before, you're probably familiar with its shredded cabbage, carrots, and creamy mayonnaise-based dressing. While this variety has its place, coleslaw is also the perfect food to customize with unique ingredients, and Mashed recipe developer Miriam Hahn developed a coleslaw recipe that's anything but ordinary.

Hahn came up with a spicy coleslaw recipe that incorporates pepperoncini peppers and a blend of spices that adds a nice (but not too powerful) kick. Hahn's first departure from tradition is using tahini in place of mayonnaise for creaminess. She also adds maple syrup, lemon, and Dijon mustard to make the dressing. If you thought maple syrup only belonged on pancakes and waffles, think again — the maple in this coleslaw helps balance the mustard's tanginess and sharpness. Hahn shared with Mashed the thing she likes best about this coleslaw: "When you mix tahini (which is just ground sesame seeds) with lemon, Dijon, maple syrup, and spices, it becomes this incredible tangy, ADDICTING dressing. So much better than a standard mayonnaise dressing."

Bring this coleslaw to your next cookout

While Miriam Hahn's coleslaw has some heat from the pepperoncini peppers, it's not enough for the salad to be "jalapeño hot," making it a safe bet for backyard barbecues. Her coleslaw dressing also has plenty of acid from the lemon juice and apple cider vinegar, making the maple syrup a necessary addition. She also sprinkles in red pepper flakes for some added heat, which can be balanced and toned down by the maple's sweetness.

While you can enjoy Hahn's coleslaw as-is, she suggests pairing it with some classic cookout food like burgers, sloppy joes, or paninis. Another benefit of this coleslaw is that it can sit out for some time without spoiling due to the absence of mayo. You can easily make it ahead of time, and according to Hahn, it will last up to five days in the fridge. If you're short on time, you can use pre-shredded cabbage, and everything should come together in 10 minutes or less. For those who want even more spice, Hahn suggests adding some green Tabasco, which is more tangy and less aggressively spiced than the red variety.